I am the child of immigrants, and so have always lived my life conscious of being caught between vastly different lands. Thus, though born in Canada, Canada is but a small part of my identity. It is also no surprise that I have been fascinated by the past from an early age. It was always a land of mystery for me, one that I always knew held the answers to questions I wanted to engage: who was I, what was my community, and how did my world come to be?
On a more mundane level I received a PhD from the University of Toronto in 1989 after extensive graduate studies in a country that no longer exists (the Soviet Union, and Leningrad/St. Petersburg above all). I have been at Laurier since 1994 and I have seen the History Department at this university develop into a remarkably strong unit in that time.
I think that it's safe to say that my published research has been rather diverse of late. Recent publications include a social history of southern Ukraine (known in the Imperial era as "New Russia". More recently my book on Dostoevsky's vision for an ethical world was published, and a book on Russian Mennonites that I have edited is due out in the fall of 2017. I have begun several new projects, including a major rethinking of the Mennonite experience in Russia and Ukraine.
I have broad expertise in Russian and Soviet history, most especially in the Social History of Southern Ukraine (New Russia); the great Russian writer Fedor Dostoevsky, and most recently on the history of Russian Mennonites, who lived in what is today Ukraine; a people who spoke German but were of primarily Dutch and Flemish origin. See why the study of History is important!
I am willing to work with graduate students in areas that pertain to my areas of research and publication, but more broadly in Russian history as appropriate. Please contact me.
Mennonites in Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union: Through Much Tribulation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2022.
Minority Report: Mennonite Identities in Imperial Russia and Soviet Ukraine Reconsidered, 1789-1945. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018.
Transcendent Love: Dostoevsky and the Search for a Global Ethic. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2016.